Construction of a specialised training institute for Cambodian garment workers got underway at the beginning of September, just-style has been told.

The Cambodian Garment Training Institute (CGTI) is being built in Phnom Penh's Special Economic Zone, and will train local workers to fill middle management positions in factories across the country. It will offer vocational training programmes such as specialised design and pattern making courses, with the costs paid by employers.

Around 1,600 places will be available in the first year of operation. In addition, the institute will offer 12-month courses to 240 young university graduates interested in building a career in the garment industry. Applicants will be able to choose from various specialisations, including production engineering, quality control and garment design.

The institute, which is being set up by the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) with financial assistance from the French Agency for Development (AFD), will help boost the sector's competitiveness and create more jobs.

It “will help train Cambodian workers in all sections of the industry, from sewing operators to technical specialists and pattern makers,” says GMAC president Van Sou Ieng, adding: “It will help increase productivity and reduce dependence on foreign workers in management and key technical positions.”

GMAC secretary general, Ken Loo, adds: “We believe this institute will help fill a crucial gap in the current labour market, as well as helping more Cambodian workers secure a better future for themselves in the garment industry.”

The institute will be recognised as a private accredited training institute by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.